Google, Meta Fined for Collecting Personal Data Illegally in South Korea

Google, Meta Fined for Collecting Personal Data Illegally in South Korea
A 3D printed Facebook's new rebrand logo Meta in front of displayed Google logo on Nov. 2, 2021. (Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Reuters)
Aldgra Fredly

The South Korean government on Wednesday fined Google and Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, billions of won for allegedly collecting personal data without users' consent.

The Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC) fined Google ₩69.2 billion ($50 million) and Meta ₩30.8 billion ($22 million), the highest amount ever levied for alleged data privacy violations by the commission, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The PIPC said its probe found that Google and Meta have been collecting and analyzing behavioral data to use for personalized online advertising without informing or getting prior consent from users.

The firms were ordered to inform their users clearly and obtain their consent before collecting or utilizing users' behavioral information on websites or other platforms.

It stated that Google failed to clearly notify users of its data collection since 2016 by using a default setting that makes users agree to share data.

As for Meta, the PIPC stated the company did not obtain consent from users before using their behavioral data for personalized online advertising since 2018.

A Google spokesperson told Reuters that the firm disagrees with the PIPC's findings, and will review them once they are shared. Meta said it opposed the PIPC’s decision and said that it was open to all options, including taking the case to court.

Google also faces damages claims for up to €25 billion ($25.4 billion) over its digital advertising practices in two suits to be filed in British and Dutch courts in the coming weeks by a law firm on behalf of publishers.

The French competition watchdog imposed a fine of €220 million on the company last year, while the European Commission and its UK peer are investigating whether Google’s ad-tech business gives it an unfair advantage over rivals and advertisers.

Reuters contributed to this report.
Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, mainly covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.
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